Emmanuel Levinas, adopting his peculiar phenomenological approach, views the I's responsibility for the Other as the sole foundation of being ethical, and summons humanity to be aware of its infinite and immediate responsibility. Ethical responsibility can be understood here as every I's receptivity and solicitude towards the Other or those whose presence makes the I's transcendence possible. Responsibility accurately implies the I's passivity from the Other's demand and address. Unlike the subject which exists within Western philosophical tradition, Levinas's ethical subject is not active, automatized and hegemonic! The hegemonic I has always striven to subjugate the Other under a universal and rational totality. Hence, there arises a struggle between the familiar and the non-familiar. To resolve the strong node of this hostility, for Levinas, is to have the I innately passivatized of the Other. He holds that the passive response to the Other's demand constitutes the sensitivity of human existence. The I's ethical responsibility for the Other discloses a subject's passive structure that has always recognized itself through the profound and active consciousness. In this paper, by exploiting some unique metaphors like "substitution" and "hostage" –which imply the exaggerative aspect of passivity-, Levinas's path to gloss a novel ethical subject will be sketched out.
Keywords Emmanuel Levinas   Ethical responsibility   Hostage   passivity   Substitution
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